Greeks are treating their politicians like celebrities after 'No' vote prevails in bailout referendum

The reaction to Syriza's Zoe Konstantopoulou as she walked outside the Greek parliament shows just how highly regarded the radical left party is among those who voted 'No'

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The Independent Online

When David Cameron won the 2015 general election, he didn't walk through Parliament Square and celebrate with thousands of cheering fans; nor did he welcome hugs and kisses from jubilant Unionists when Scotland remained part of the UK after the 2014 referendum.

Yet in Greece, with voters angry about five years of austerity and having their policies dictated by more powerful nations in Europe, the mood towards politicians - particularly the radical left party Syriza - is markedly different.

With 61 percent of voters rejecting the latest deal offered by European creditors - a bailout offer that Syriza did not agree with - the Greek parliament's president and Syriza party member, Zoe Konstantopoulou, walked out into Syntagma Square to join in the celebrations with the masses of "No" supporters.

In video from the square, Ms Konstantopoulou is mobbed by locals in scenes akin to a One Direction gig rather than a spontaneous political rally. Women and men rush towards the speaker of the Hellenic Parliament to hug and kiss her on both cheeks. Others take selfies with Ms Kostantopoulou, who is smiling and clearly enjoying not only the result of the referendum but the outpouring of thanks by those who are glad the latest bailout offer was taken to the people.

While Greece's Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, said the "No" victory in the country's bailout referendum did not mean the country was going to have leave the eurozone, the future of the Greek nation's place within the EU is now at stake.


The country's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned after the vote, saying that he felt his departure would help in the next round of negotiations between Greece and eurozone ministers.

Syriza, an anti-establishment party whose name means "coalition of the radical left," won its first election ever in January 2015, winning 149 seats, just two short of a majority.